Now, it was the Mystics' first game in WNBA history, and they were the visitors facing a good Charlotte team, but Washington's first-ever boxscore has to give the Utah Starzz some hope tonight in the Delta Center as they look for their first win since Aug. 19, 1997.

The expansion Washington Mystics (0-1) play Utah (0-1) at 7 tonight.The Mystics' WNBA debut Thursday at Charlotte was an 83-57 loss with Starzz-like numbers in turnovers - 23 of them leading to 29 Sting points.

The Starzz, who lost their opener Thursday at home to Los Angeles, 89-83, had 18 turnovers in that game and made 56 in two exhibition games last week.

Now, Washington has some all-star talent, but its two best players didn't meet teammates until Tuesday because they were playing in the FIBA World Championships in Germany last week.

Nikki McCray, a 5-foot-11 guard who was a U.S. '96 Olympian and who played on the American team that won the World Championship last Sunday, is said by some to be the best American player.

She was best in the rival ABL last season, leading Columbus to the league championship averaging 19.9 points, five rebounds and 2.7 assists to become ABL MVP before defecting.

She and '96 Brazilian Olympian Allesandra Santos DeOliveira, a 6-5 center, are just back from the Worlds. DeOliveira made five turnovers, but McCray had 19 points (9-for-23) and six assists. Other regulars include veteran 6-5 forward Heidi Burge (Virginia '93), ex-Starzz forward Deborah Carter and draftees Rita Williams (UConn '98, guard) and Murriel Page (Florida '98, forward).

Thursday, Utah got 18 points and 14 rebounds from Elena Baranova, the World Championship MVP whose Russian team took second, and 13 points and a WNBA-record-tying six blocked shots from 7-foot-2 Margo Dydek, who flew to Los Angeles Friday to be on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno." Forward Wendy Palmer (broken toe) played only nine minutes but wanted more. Guard Chantel Tremitiere suffered a calf injury on the last play of the game.

PHOX PHAT: The Starzz' new mascot: a fox. Some Starzz could be considered foxes, right? But while the person inside the suit is lean, the fox costume is strangely rotund. Ever seen a fat fox? A fat person considered a fox? The Jazz Bear is so trim he likes to rip off his shirt and show off those big costume pecs. But better than a yellow Carlzz Jr. star with catsup dripped on it.

The Starzz will hold a fox-naming contest soon.

KASHKA: Malgorzata Dydek's older sister, 6-foot-7 Katarzyna, the one who interested Margo in basketball, is in Utah for the summer. She played sparingly for ABL Colorado last year. She got to the U.S. too late to try out for a '98 team because her team in Poland just won that country's national championship.

Margo has many nicknames, called "Ptych (Big Cake)" in Poland and "Mega" and "Large Marge" here. The family nickname for her is "Goshka," the Polish version of calling a Margaret "Maggie" or "Peggy." Katarzyna's nickname is "Kashka. I think parents did it on purpose" because they rhyme, says Kashka.